Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 24, 2019

World Languages: The Gateway to New Horizons

World Languages: The Gateway to New Horizons

By Kelsey Davison

Kelsey Davison (class of 2015) entered SSU without knowing exactly where her education was going to lead her. She chose to supplement her Geography major with a minor in Spanish, a decision that has shaped her trajectory since, from her choice of study abroad programs to her Peace Corps destination in Paraguay. Her next step is a graduate degree at Harvard University to become a clinical psychologist to serve the Latino Community. Nothing better than her own words to illustrate how the addition of World Languages to your career can lead you to uncharted territories that you never dreamed of.

Kelsey Davison travelling the world

Kelsey Davison travelling the world

To me, the words education and opportunity are interchangeable. When I started my undergraduate career at Salem State University, my belief in that statement was lukewarm at best. An undergraduate degree was a mere point of entry to the labyrinth that is life, something to be done. During my freshman year I worked full-time and attended night school while fulfilling my general requirements. The mix of students I then became a part of is what led me to readjust my perception of what it was I was doing and the opportunity I had.

The community at SSU is the university’s defining attribute. Many of my classmates hadn’t solely driven over from a neighboring city, they had traveled thousands of miles to be in a seat equal to mine. That realization is what suddenly gave my place there more weight. In a world of political contentions, understanding humanity as a whole is what is needed most. Although I had the opportunity to work toward that in Sullivan and Meier Hall, my insatiable curiosity drove me to want more.

Two semesters and a summer abroad during an undergraduate career is logistically complicated. Staff from the World Languages and Geography departments responded to my lofty goals with unrelenting “yesses” and boundless support. What comforted me most of this response was their belief in what I was doing. Cultural exposure of this nature is difficult yet fulfilling. I never felt more incompetent than during my first days in Chile with broken Spanish. I never believed in myself more than in the weeks that followed, knowing that I, alone, had continued onward in a foreign place.

It has been four years since I graduated from SSU. The opportunities provided there continuously burgeon into new possibilities. My Spanish fluency led me to 27 months of Peace Corps service in Paraguay and mastery of a new tongue, the native language Guaraní. This then shifted my focus to the world of human development and psychology and pursuit of a graduate degree. Yesterday I attended Accepted Student’s Day at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where I begin class in August. In Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass he wrote, “I am an acme of things accomplished, I an encloser of things to be.” I hold these words close as reminders of those that supported me to where I am, and how they will stay with me wherever I may be.

 


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